Muslim Ban / Registry

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This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.

How You Can Resist
How You Can Resist

  • Call your Senator and US Representative by dialing tel:844-6-RESIST and tell them to support legislation that would make any Muslim ban illegal. To learn what your representatives have said about Trump's original executive order, click here.
  • Find out when your Senators and US Representative are holding town halls and other Upcoming Events/Opportunities.
  • Check our Crisis Resources for organizations devoted to resisting the Muslim ban, including through legal help.
  • Click here to find an organization looking for volunteers and here for information and opportunities for online activism.

Updates
Recent Updates

If your nationality is one of those affected by the ban, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SIGN AN I-407, as this will invalidate your status in the United States. Seek guidance from an immigration lawyer before any travel plans.

Updates to the Travel Ban

  • 9/11/2017: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a short-term order restoring President Donald Trump’s ban on thousands of refugees seeking entry to the country. Previously, a federal appeals court ruling had said that the administration had to continue admitting refugees if a resettlement agency had promised that it would provide basic services for them. Justice Kennedy's order puts this ruling on hold until the high court decides whether to grant the administration’s request for a longer-term order.[1]
  • 9/7/2017: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Trump administration effort to temporarily bar most refugees from entering the country through an executive order. The court ruled that refugees who have relationships with a resettlement agency should be exempt from the order. They also ruled that grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of legal U.S. residents should be exempt. The order banned travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. [2]

Updates to the Electronic Device Ban

Updates to Lawsuits

  • 6/26/17: The Supreme Court will hear arguments about the travel ban this fall. Until then, the injunction has been lifted on the ban. This means it will go into effect for all people from the six affected countries, except those with a connection to the US, such as family members living here.[3]

Actions Taken by the Federal Government
Laws Proposed by Congress

Legislative Actions

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice

  • S248 would block an executive order that restricts individuals from certain countries from entering the US (often called the Muslim ban).
    link=https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s248 S248


  • Protect American Family Act (S54) would prohibit the creation of a registry program that classifies people on the basis of religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, nationality, or citizenship (often called a Muslim registry).
    Billtracker.png


  • HR 1006 would guarantee legal counsel to people detained while trying to enter the US. The bill would require Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to provide non-citizens with access to counsel. (Non-citizens do not usually have the right to be represented by an attorney unless they are the target of a criminal investigation.)[4]
    Billtracker.png


  • S 274 would undo Trump's Muslim ban executive order.
    Billtracker.png


Trump / GOP Strategy
Trump / GOP Muslim Ban

A revised version of Trump's original executive order was released on March 6, and was supposed to go into effect on March 16. The original executive order was revoked as of March 16.

  • This revised order only affects issuing new visas. No visas will be revoked because of this order, and the order does not apply to people with visas or green cards.[5]
  • Iraqi citizens are not affected by the revised order, as a result of negotiations between the Iraq government and the US State Department. However, foreign citizens from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen who did not have a valid visa as of January 27, 2017, will not be allowed to enter the US for 90 days. During this time, the State Department and Department of Homeland Security will examine people from these countries on a case-by-case basis, allowing them into the US only if their entry is of “national interest.”[6]
  • Syrian refugees are no longer banned indefinitely. The Refugee Admissions Program will be stopped for 120 days to ensure that people admitted to the US “do not pose a security risk.” During this time, the State Department and Department of Homeland Security will admit people on a case-by-case basis, if their entry is of “national interest.” After this 120-day period, no more than 50,000 refugees will be admitted during the 2017 fiscal year.[7]
  • The revised order calls for new screening and vetting processes. Screening processes for visa and refugee admissions are being assessed, and until this is completed, the Administration considers people from the six countries "too dangerous" to be admitted to the US, unless they are individually approved.[8]
  • 15 states stand by the ban as constitutional and have filed an amicus brief (a "friend of the court" briefing, meaning that someone who is not directly involved in a case assists the court by offering information about the case) with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court. These are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.[9]
Figures who have campaigned with Trump, expressed support for him, or received praise from Trump himself have also started using the term “internment” to refer to a possible counterterror effort within the Muslim community [10].

Vetting

Trump has called for the “immediate implementation of additional heightened screening and vetting protocols and procedures” in regards to issuing visas for the sake of national security. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General have been given the task to implement procedures that will enhance the screening of applications for visas. [11]

The State Department announced in early June that visa questionnaires will now ask for the social media handles from the past five years for all potential immigrants who require “more rigorous national security vetting.”[12]

Electronic Device Regulations

The Department of Homeland Security has banned electronic devices larger than a cellphone from being brought in carry-ons on direct flights to the US from certain countries. Instead, all large devices (laptops, iPads, e-Readers, etc.) must be checked in luggage.

  • The ban involves 10 airports in 8 Muslim-majority countries: Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.[13]
  • The U.K. government has followed America's lead, banning large electronics from being brought on carry-on bags from certain countries. Flights with direct service to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia will be affected.[14]
  • CNN has reported that an Al-Qaeda threat using laptop bombs was the cause of the ban.[15]
  • Affected airlines had 96 hours to implement the device ban, so its start date was March 25.[16]
  • There is no end date for the ban.[17]

As of early May, the Department of Homeland Security is considering banning laptops and other electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights from Europe to the United States. This would expand the existing ban, which bans large electronics on carry-ons on flights to the US from airports in some Muslim-majority countries. The Europe ban is still being planned, and it is unknown when it might go into effect.[18]

Projected Impact
Impact of Muslim Ban

Hate Crimes

There has been a substantial increase in Islamophobic and other hate crimes since President Trump began running for office. A Washington Post study analyzed terrorism from 2011 to 2015 in the US and found that incidents involving a Muslim perpetrator were only 12% of attacks, but got 44% of the news coverage.[19] This disproportionate coverage leads to paranoia and bigotry.

Impact on the Travel Industry

A study of approximately 300 million online air travel searches concluded that flight searches from international sources to the US dropped 17% since Trump signed the original executive order on January 27. Business travel bookings within the US dropped 3.4% in the week after the travel ban was signed.[20]

Several top officials and international travelers have said that traveling to the U.S. has become less appealing.[21]

  • Research suggests that a 5% drop in tourism would cost the U.S. economy $18 billion dollars.[22]
  • A 1% shift in business travel costs could lead to the loss of 71,000 jobs, nearly $5 billion in economic growth, $3 billion in wages, and $1.2 billion in tax collections.[23]

On April 20, Emirates Airline cut the number of transatlantic flights it offers,[24], citing lower “consumer interest and demand” to travel to the US because of the travel and electronics bans.

Impact on the Medical Field

Areas of the country that voted for Trump disproportionately rely on medical professionals who are originally from one of the six banned countries. This is partly because fewer doctors want to work in rural areas (which tend to vote Republican). The US grants visas to foreign doctors who agree to work in these areas for three years after their residency.[25]

Hospitals are also under pressure to reject qualified medical school graduates who apply for residencies in the US, because Trump’s ban might bar them from entering the country in the first place. Residents need to be ready to start work by July 1.[26]

Impact on Refugees

The category of "refugee" is distinct from "immigrant." Refugees are fleeing their home country due to war, persecution, famine or natural disaster. Some refugees choose to remain close to their homes in hopes of returning when possible, but other refugees seek to move permanently to other countries.

Trump’s executive order on immigration intended to halt the US refugee resettlement program for 120 days.[27] The refugee admission process involves a security clearance, interview, and biometrics checks, which are valid for 15 months. Sponsor assurance (a US organization that is willing to provide help to the refugee) is valid for 12 months, and medical clearance for 90 days. There is typically a 60-day travel period left over in which all checks are cleared. This travel window becomes more complicated when families are attempting to resettle together, as the members might have their checks expire at different times.[28][29] Despite efforts by the Trump Administration to lower the number of refugees entering the US, however, the State Department has lifted the refugee quota. This means that refugees can enter the US “unconstrained” (the number is not limited), as the State Department said [30].

Refugees are most often woman and children, and are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Depending on their situation, families may live for years outside their country of origin in makeshift camps. Refugees who seek resettlement in the US face extensive background checks and interviews before they can come to the US, a process that on average takes two years.[31]

The Trump administration has used the need for increased “vetting” of refugees as a reason to halt the resettlement program, but they have ignored the fact that the vetting process is already extremely extensive, thorough, and time-consuming. Halting resettlement even for 120 days is a huge setback for refugees around the world who are seeking refuge in the US. It is particularly troubling in the case of Syrian refugees, as massive displacement of Syrians as a result of the ongoing civil war is the largest humanitarian crisis of the decade. One way to combat this crisis is through refugee resettlement, and the US had only just begun to accept more refugees when Trump took office. Halting the program now would be devastating not only to those seeking resettlement but also to countries bordering Syria that are now taking in the majority of the refugees.[32].

The Islamic State has recently been using the strategy of trying to disrupt Western acceptance of refugees, particularly from Iraq and Syria. Trump’s executive order may also be counterproductive in the war with ISIS.[33]

Impact of the Electronic Device Regulations

People with disabilities may be particularly affected by the ban. Having devices such as iPads, Kindles, and laptops can be crucial for communication, sensory calming techniques, and entertainment during flights.[34] here for more information about how the Trump Administration affects people with disabilities.

Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy
Vulnerabilities of the Ban

Lawsuits

On May 8, the 4th Circuit Court in Virginia was the first court to look at the revised ban.[35] There is audio of the hearing here. The Administration insists the order is not a religiously driven ban against Muslims and instead is meant to protect national security. The ACLU references Trump's campaign statements and insists that the order targets Muslims.

On May 15, the 9th Circuit Court in Seattle became the second court to look at the revised ban.[36] The hearing was live-streamed and can be watched here. On one side, the Justice Department says that Trump's campaign remarks about Muslims does not mean this order targets Muslims. On the other side, the state of Hawaii insists that Trump never clarified his past remarks and instead even made more controversial statements about Muslims.

On May 25, the 4th Circuit Court upheld a block on the travel ban.[37] This decision agrees with a previous injunction ruling issued earlier this year (note: an injunction is a court order that keeps the current situation—in this case, blocking the ban—the same, even after both parties have delivered arguments). This case may go to the Supreme Court.[38]

On June 12, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate Trump's travel ban. Their decision was based on the fact that the order did not show any connection between the six targeted countries and terrorist groups that could harm US security.[39]

During Trump's candidacy, he recruited Rudy Giuliani to create a travel ban that was legally acceptable. U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts ordered the Trump administration to turn over the memo that Giuliani wrote to Trump by May 19. This is to find out if the travel ban was religiously motivated and targeting Muslims on purpose. However, Giuliani missed this deadline. Both the ACLU and Arab American Civil Rights League have vowed to take Giuliani to court to get this memo [40].However, US District Judge Victoria Roberts has halted court proceedings that demanded Giuliani turn over the memo [41].

Civil Rights Groups

The ACLU of Maine and other New England ACLU Affiliates filed a lawsuit demanding documents about the implementation of the ban. These documents are about records from the Boston branch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about the implementation of the ban at Bradley, Bangor, Burlington, Logan, Manchester and T.F. Green International Airports. This lawsuit comes after the ACLU spent two months sending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to CBP agencies across the country.[42]. (The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, declares that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records.)

Data and Language

The Trump Administration has used national security threats as justification for the ban. But a think-tank report from September 2016 that studied immigration and terrorism in the US found that foreign-born terrorists are not enough of a risk to justify a ban.[43]

The Trump Administration has claimed that the media has underreported attacks committed by Muslims.[44]

A common Islamophobic claim is that Muslims are silent on terror (though, of course, Muslims are not required to comment on acts in which they did not participate). But actually, Muslims very often condemn terror—click here for a 712+ page compilation of Muslims' comments on terrorism.

In early June, Trump's tweets after the London attacks used the term "travel ban,"[45] even though the White House earlier insisted that this executive order was "not a ban."[46] Trump also called the second executive order "watered down" and "politically correct," suggesting that the original ban was meant to target people of a particular religion.[47]

Conflicts of Interest

Trump has business ties in most of the Muslim-majority countries excluded from his executive order, including Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Azerbaijan.[48] Trump has used the 9/11 attacks to justify the ban, but none of the hijackers was from the countries targeted by his executive order, and no terror attacks have been committed in the US by nationals of these countries.[49]

Existing Laws

The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, aka the Hart-Celler Act, banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin.

The Hart-Celler Act abolished the national origins quota system that had structured American immigration policy since the 1920s, replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants' skills and family relationships with citizens or residents of the U.S. Numerical restrictions on visas were set at 170,000 per year, not including immediate relatives of US citizens, nor "special immigrants" (including those born in "independent" nations in the Western hemisphere; former citizens; ministers; employees of the U.S. government abroad).[50]

8 U.S. Code § 1152 states that no person can be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.”[51]

Weaknesses in the Electronic Device Ban

  • Smartphones have the same capabilities as larger devices.
  • An explosive device of any size can detonate whether it is stored in a checked bag or a carry-on.[52]

Opponents Within the Administration

H.R. McMaster

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster declared in a National Security Council meeting that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic” and perverting Islam. His approach toward the Muslim world is more moderate than that of the rest of the Trump Administration, especially McMaster’s predecessor, Michael Flynn, who resigned.[53]

Department of Homeland Security

Leaked documents from the Department of Homeland Security do not support theTrump administration's arguments for the ban. These documents state that country of citizenship probably will not predict whether someone will commit a terrorist attack, and most foreign-born extremists who now live in the US probably became extremists several years after they entered the US. This means that screening and vetting processes have limited effectiveness."[54]